A brother in Christ that I used to sit with decided that we, the church, must go through God’s time of wrath. He, of course, called this time frame the tribulation.
If you read this and say it’s too much, there are too many references, and I don’t see the point. Consider how this conversation initiated with a brother in Christ trying to tell me that we must go through God’s wrath. If you read the passages from Romans 2:5-11, then you would understand that the unbeliever is bringing the wrath upon themselves.
Dear Lord, you need to read the scriptures for yourselves, or you will stumble as though you are in darkness, and because of these conversations, I am convinced few of you that call yourselves Christians ever read your Bibles. If you fall into this category, you don’t have a clue about what is coming.
Let’s start off with a bit of honesty.
The prefixes “pre,” “mid,” and “post” are human constructs, NOT God’s, and you, of course, know that “pre” indicates something happening prior to an event, such as God’s wrath/judgment, and “post” applies to things which occur after the event. However, there is nothing in scripture that expressly identifies this time as a “pre,” “mid,” or “post” event.
As some see it, it is a reasonable assumption to apply those mid and post prefixes to God’s wrath. My friend thought it was entirely logical to think this way, although the only thing he could come up with to back up his argument was emotion.
Because God’s promises (a few of them are shared in this post) tell us that we are NOT destined for wrath, I can, with confidence, consider myself a pre-tribulation supporter.
The word tribulation has become a roadblock between fellow believers as we have taken something that Jesus promised would be an everyday aspect of our lives and turned it into a timed event, as though we are in competition with each other.
Because Jesus, in Matthew 24, shared this with us, I share it with you.
“Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), (16) then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. (17) “Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. (18) “Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. (19) “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! (20) “But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. (21) “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. (22) “Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” (Matthew 24:15-22 NASB)
Note how Matthew gives us the context, which is the Abomination of Desolation as a trigger for the “great tribulation,” an event that has not occurred in the world as yet and will not happen until three and one-half years into the seven-year “treaty” put forth by the antichrist.
Tribulation is the Greek word thlípsis. This word has several possibilities for meaning: squeeze, compress, press, crush, trouble, affliction, break, and Tribulation.
Do any of those descriptives fit some aspect of your life? They do mine.
In conversations, my friend struggled with 2 Thessalonians 2:3
“Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy (which, in the Geneva Bible, is accurately translated as departure) comes first, and (then) the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, (4) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 NASB.)
Those who have a Biblical understanding are watching Turkey, and the activities of Russia and Iran, as they prepare to make strategic and alarming moves into Syria. (How drastically the world has changed since I initiated this post in 2019)
We are NOT asleep; we are awake. So while I could take a pre-tribulation stand based on 2 Thessalonians 2: 3, 4 alone, it only gets better and easier to understand as I progress to 2 Thessalonians 2: 6-8. Each one of these has its own clarity.
“You know what it is that now holds him back, so that he will be revealed when his time comes.” (2 Thessalonians 2:6 GW)
I explained how the word revealed can also mean to expose or make known.
“For the secret of evil is even now at work: but there is one who is keeping back the evil till he is taken out of the way.” (2 Thessalonians 2:7 BBE)
“And then the lawless one (the antichrist) will be revealed and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of His mouth and bring him to an end by His appearing at His coming.” (2 Thessalonians 2:8 AMP)
The Antichrist will not be revealed to the world until we, the church, check out. This is somewhat important since we are NOT destined for wrath, and wrath from God is what is coming.
You asked me in another post about the sentence, “pray that your flight is NOT in the winter.“
“But pray that your flight is not in the winter, nor on the sabbath day;”
(Matthew 24:20 MKJV)
If you keep a Middle Eastern perspective, then, of course, there are the elements.
It would be miserable;
If Israel is under such a severe attack, where will those who are running for their lives go?
Imagine trying to escape the Los Angeles area with our freeway system. The reality is, in a situation like this, we will most likely, not survive. We already have an awareness that these will primarily be Islamic die-hards. For example, the temple mount is controlled by the Muslims. Many of them wholeheartedly believe in chopping off heads. I suspect this will be the major aspect of this great tribulation.
The promise of wrath is all throughout the Old Testament.
“Go inquire of Jehovah for me and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found. For great is the wrath of Jehovah that is poured out on us because our fathers have not kept the Word of Jehovah to do according to all that is written in this Book.” (2 Chronicles 34:21 MKJV)
The record about curses in Leviticus 26:1-46, and Deuteronomy 27-28, was sufficiently clear to convict of sin.
But if they did not obey the LAW, this is what happens:
“But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; (15) And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. (17) And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursues you. (18) And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. (19) And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass.” (Leviticus 26:14-19 KJV)
The seven sabbatical years preceding the Year of Jubilee. These were the sabbaths that Israel did not obey and therefore went into Babylonian captivity.
“In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.”
(Daniel 9:2 KJV)
Daniel, a captive, was reading the scroll of Jeremiah.
“And this whole land shall be a ruin and a waste. And these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall be, when seventy years are fulfilled I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, and the land of the Chaldeans, says Jehovah, for their iniquity, and I will make it an everlasting ruin.”
(Jeremiah 25:11-12 MKJV)
Some other examples of God’s wrath are in the Old Testament.
“And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass.” 2Chronicles 24:18
“Now be ye not stiff necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you.”
If you have time, do a word search for the number of times wrath shows up in the Old Testament, it is overwhelming.
In the New Testament, the word wrath also shows up prolifically.
“For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
(Revelation 6:17 KJV)
Who is making this statement? The great day of his wrath has come.
“…The kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the chief captains, the mighty men, every bondman, and every free man…”
John the Baptist, speaking to the scribes, elders, and a great multitude, said,
“O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Luke 3:7 KJV)
Jesus, in Luke’s gospel, is giving the same response we see in the Matthew 24 account. When shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of your coming?
According to Luke’s gospel, Jesus said,
“But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.”
(Luke 21:23 KJV)
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;”
Romans 2 is important because it speaks about the glory and honor due to the follower of Christ.
But because of your stubborn and unrepentant heart, you are reserving wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. For he will repay everyone according to what that person has done: eternal life to those who strive for glory, honor, and immortality by patiently doing good, but wrath and fury for those who, in their selfish pride, refuse to believe the truth and practice wickedness instead. There will be suffering and anguish for every human being who practices doing evil, for Jews first and for Greeks as well. But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who practices doing good, initially for Jews but also for Greeks as well, because God does not show partiality.” (Romans 2:5-11 ISV)
Did you catch that?
You are storing up wrath for yourself. Although wrath is coming, our justification by his blood has saved us from that wrath.
“But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (10) For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (11) And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Romans 5:8-11 KJV)
The wrath is coming upon the sons of disobedience, among others.
“For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (6) Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. (7) Therefore do not be partakers with them;”
(Ephesians 5:5-7 NASB)
Paul wrote similar words to the church at Colossae.
“Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. (6) For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience,” (Colossians 3:5-6 NASB)
To the church of Thessaloniki, Paul wrote:
“For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, (10) and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.”
(1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 NASB)
The writer of the book of Hebrews (a book written to Jewish followers of Christ.) He says,
“do not harden your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness, when your fathers tempted Me, proved Me, and saw My works forty years. Therefore I was grieved with that generation and said, They always err in their heart, and they have not known My ways. So I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter into My rest.” (Hebrews 3:8-11 MKJV)
One of the primary places we look to find information on God’s wrath tends to be the Revelation.
“The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. (15) Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; (16) and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb;” (Revelation 6:14-16 NASB)
The people defined in verse 15 are not those I would think realize that this punishment/wrath is from God. I marvel at why they know.
Aside from the brother in Christ that seemed to want to go through the time of God’s wrath, I got into a heated argument with a false teacher, as he tried to tell me that the seven-year period was not a time of wrath and judgment. Oh, it is.
More passages from Revelation on the wrath.
Rev_11:18; Rev_14:8 ; Rev_14:10; Rev_15:1; Rev_15:7; Rev_16:1; Rev_16:19; Rev_18:3; Rev_19:15
The angels could NOT destroy Sodom and the surrounding cities until Lot and his family were removed, and so they physically removed them.
“and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (8) (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), (9) then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, (10) and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties,” (2 Peter 2:7-10 NASB)
One of the issues some have is over the wording in 2 Peter 2:7-10, which talks of “the day of...” This is really not an issue as God has referred to this seven-year time frame, as well as Jesus’ return to earth, as the day of the Lord. The day of judgment is the seven-year period, but it is also the day Jesus returns physically to earth, and it can also apply to the time of the great white throne judgment, which has NOTHING to do with believers. Figuring out which day He is talking about is one of our biggest challenges, but most of the time, it can be accomplished by looking at the context.
In the book of Revelation, the seven seals, the seven bowls, and the seven trumpets are all a part of the wrath and judgment of God upon the nations and the Jews.
Once the seven years begin, there is no separation of time, for it is all God’s time, even if it seems that He is using humans to help bring about the wrath that He has determined. An example of this can be seen here in Jude 1:6, where angels carry out the judgment.
“And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day,” (Jude 1:6 NASB)
At the beginning of the millennial age, Satan is thrown into the bottomless pit for a thousand years.
Does that mean the fallen angels are also gone?
Absolutely, since they carry out Satan’s wishes, and there is no longer any temptation. This next statement will mess up many Christians as they have chosen to follow some twisted teaching from a false teacher.
Abolishing Satan does not remove the free will from those still here on earth, and their choice to act poorly will be quickly and effectively dealt with during the thousand years. At the end of the millennial reign, Satan alone gets released and deceives the world, and we see no one with him.
The short book of Jude is the only place in the Bible where you will find a reference of this sort about Enoch.
“It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, (15) to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” (Jude 1:14-15 NASB)
So, when do we see God/Jesus coming with thousands of His holy ones?
At the end of the seven years and at the beginning of the millennial reign. Jesus will come as the warring Messiah, and He will silence His enemies.
“And I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; (7) and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.”
(Revelation 14:6-7 NASB)
One last thing.
You talked about “the murder of our people.”
You, like a few others, merely wrote me an unexplainable note, and I can only assume that you are calling these “our people” because we sit by many of them in Church.
If they did not go up in the rapture, then they fall under the category of “the nations.” I say this, even though it probably upsets you, because right now, in this “pre-rapture” state, there are only three people groups: the Jews, the nations, and the church. Obviously, the rapture will change that equation and remove the church, leaving the Jews and the nations.
Who is God’s wrath being poured out upon?
You got it, the Jews and the nations. The church became part of the body of Christ, and He already suffered all the wrath necessary to satisfy the debts owed on our behalf. He is NEVER going to do that again.
A logical question would be, will those who missed the catching away of the church accept Christ during the seven years?
Scripture tells me that an uncountable number will, and that should bring you some peace. Just know this, they will have everything we today have (like repentance and forgiveness,) yet without grace, they will have to prove their love and allegiance to God.